Posts tagged ‘David Taylor’

The Penn Stater Daily — March 24, 2014

Ruth

The champs are here: So, how was your weekend? If you’re a Penn State sports fan, it was probably pretty great. The highlight came Saturday night in Oklahoma City, when the Nittany Lion wrestlers emerged from a tight team battle with Minnesota and Oklahoma State to clinch the program’s fourth straight NCAA championship. Ed Ruth (above) made history at 184 pounds, becoming Penn State’s first three-time NCAA champ, while fellow senior David Taylor was named the tournament’s Most Dominant Wrestler en route to his second 165-pound title. Seven Lions earned All-America status on the weekend—maybe none more impressively than sixth-year senior James English, who capped an injury-plagued career with a win in his final bout. And for some great post-tournament color, Tim Owen’s column at Blue-White Illustrated is worth a read.

Lucky 13: Speaking of national championship dynasties… On Sunday morning in Columbus, the Penn State fencing team out-dueled Princeton and the rest of the field to claim the program’s 13th combined NCAA title. Sophomore Kaito Streets not only has a very cool name, but he also claimed the national title in men’s saber, making him the 13th individual champ in school history.

Hoop on: The women’s basketball team opened NCAA tournament play Sunday with a 62-56 victory over Wichita State. The third-seeded Lady Lions will back back in the BJC Tuesday night, when they host Florida for a chance to go to the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions travel to Siena tonight for a quarterfinal CBI matchup. That game airs at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Make a face: Well, this is cool. Researchers led by Penn State anthropologist Mark Shriver have figured out a way to create crude but recognizable 3D models of human faces using nothing more than DNA. It’s complicated and fascinating stuff.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 24, 2014 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 12, 2014

Gift of life: Cheryl Green was a 19-year-old Penn State sophomore when her kidneys failed and she went into cardiac arrest. Two years later she received a transplant with the kidney of her mom, who was 51 at the time. Today, 37 years later, Green is still living with her mother’s kidney, as recounted in this feature from Lancaster Online. “I have an 88-year-old kidney in me,” Green says. “People said it wouldn’t last.”

Another day, another honor for John Urschel: Penn State’s offensive lineman/math genius is a semifinalist for the Sullivan Award, which the AAU awards annually to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Past award winners include everyone from Wilma Rudolph to Bruce Jenner to Tim Tebow. Fan voting counts in choosing the finalists, so click here to cast yours. Voting ends March 23.

Video of the day: Our friends at Onward State, who alerted us to this video, described it as “Dude Writes a Song About David Taylor.” And, yes, that’s true, but Mark Bader’s karaoke version of “Piano Man,” apparently titled “Magicman” in honor of the four-time Big Ten champ’s Twitter handle and nickname, is really so much more. It’s got shutouts to everything from Ed Ruth’s cradle to Cael Sanderson’s bald head, to everyone from Nico Megaludis to the team’s sports information director, Pat Donghia. Taylor gets the best lyric, though: “He’s slick and he’s sleek/And he wrestles complete/except for he never does throws.” Funny and accurate. You’ve really got to see this and hear this to believe it, so click here. Just don’t have the volume on your computer up too high.

Dottie Sandusky speaks: The Today show interviewed Dottie Sandusky, who says her husband did not sexually abuse young boys in their basement. She also showed interviewer Matt Lauer around the basement. If you want to watch, here the link to the seven-minute segment that aired Wednesday morning, and here’s the link to the full 50-minute interview posted later in the morning. The interview is receiving some criticism online, notably from Jennifer Storm ’02, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program and an abuse survivor herself. She tweeted, “It’s morally reprehensible that @todayshow takes its victims to crime scene where many young men were sexually abused by Sandusky” and “sexual assault victims deserve to be believed & once cases are concluded left alone to heal, not be revictimized by @todayshow.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

March 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 10, 2014

Catching up with the BOT: The Board of Trustees’ latest meetings wrapped up Friday in Hershey, and as usual, Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g was on the scene. You can read her detailed coverage here and here.

Four the glory: David Taylor and Ed Ruth became Penn State’s first four-time Big Ten champions on Sunday, leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight Big Ten team title. Next stop: The NCAA championships, which start March 20 in Oklahoma City.

All downhill from here: You might have seen our post Friday on the U.S. Paralympic duo of visually impaired skier Staci Mannella and her guide, Kim Seevers ’86g. Turns out we’re not the only ones who realized Mannella and Seevers are a compelling story: The pair was featured Sunday in a New York Times story on these unusual partnerships on the slopes. Mannella and Seevers will go for gold this week in Sochi.

Talk to the Hand: New offensive line coach Herb Hand on Friday continued his utter dominance of the internet. He took a break from tweeting long enough to take part in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Among the highlights, Hand revealed his favorite State College pizza spot, how he’s handling all this snow, and what he throws on the grill when his linemen come over for dinner.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 10, 2014 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

A Fitting Rec Hall Finale for Taylor and Ruth

David Taylor/Ed Ruth

Much to his surprise, David Taylor began to cry. He was standing behind the bleachers at Rec Hall with his family Sunday afternoon, watching his teammate, fellow fifth-year senior Ed Ruth, walk out to be honored before their last wrestling match in Rec Hall, and suddenly it hit him. All the hours of work. All the Nittany Lions have accomplished in their four years on the mat. All the people who had supported and sacrificed for him.

Taylor has wrestled a lot of big matches, and he’s got two huge tournaments remaining in his college career—Big Tens and nationals. But he found himself getting keyed up for his final match as he walked onto the mat to be honored by the crowd. He still had tears in his eyes. Said Taylor, “I haven’t been that excited to wrestle in a long time, to be honest with you.”

By the time Taylor actually wrestled, about an hour later, he was so keyed up that he started before the whistle. The referee issued a caution, and Taylor waited a fraction of a second before he went back to work. He pinned Clarion 165-pounder Michael Pavasko in only 11 seconds, the second-fastest pin in Penn State history.

“Sometimes when you’re wrestling, you don’t even know what’s going on until the match is over,” Taylor said. “That 11-second flurry … before I knew it, the match was over.”

As he has for four years, Ruth matched Taylor—both in result and in excitement. Ruth needed a little longer to get his cradle locked up, and Clarion 184-pounder Dustin Conti managed to wriggle out of Ruth’s grasp just a little, but not enough. Ruth won by fall, too. By comparison, his match took forever—1 minute, 5 seconds.

It was a fitting Rec Hall finale for the duo. Each is already a three-time All-American. Ruth has two NCAA titles; Taylor, a three-time finalist, has one. Taylor has 49 career falls, second on Penn State’s all-time list. Ruth is a notch behind Taylor in third place all-time, with 45 falls. Neither ever lost a dual-meet match, either.

Even their coach, who knows a thing or two both about what it takes to excel and how to entertain wrestling fans, took the time afterward to marvel—just a bit—at their overlapping careers.

“I’m just like the people in the stands—I just enjoy watching them wrestle,” Cael Sanderson said. “There’s a lot of great wrestlers, but not a lot of great wrestlers as fun to watch as those two. Just like anybody else, I appreciate the way they compete. Both of them have been very consistent, using every second of the match to score points with very rare, few exceptions to that throughout their career.

“That’s what makes them great. That’s why people will be talking about these two forever.”

They’ll be talking about Sanderson, too, who has turned Penn State from a traditionally strong program into a powerhouse, winning the past three NCAA titles. He couldn’t have done it without Taylor, who had committed to Iowa State when Sanderson coached there but got a release to follow Sanderson to Penn State, or without Ruth, who had been recruited by former coach Troy Sunderland and who swears he didn’t even know who Sanderson was (“the guy whose name is on my shoes …”) but decided, of course, to stay.

One of the great parts of their final Rec Hall post-match media appearance was how each stayed in character.

Taylor, an earnest perfectionist who’s always made an effort to get the crowd into matches, got emotional again as he recounted his day and stressed how many people he need to thank. Ruth, a free spirit who weathered a suspension earlier this season for DUI, declined to expound on his emotions—“I can’t say it any better than he just did,” he said, looking toward Taylor—but later thanked the media for having “welcoming eyes.”

And Sanderson? He appreciated what had happened, but he wanted more. He thought Taylor’s pin took only five or six seconds; the call was a little late because the official had to get the right angle. He thought the four pins in a row—Taylor, 174-pounder Matt Brown, Ruth, and 197-pounder Morgan MacIntosh—was fine, but noted that the Nittany Lions need four pins in a row at Big Tens and NCAAs, too. And he pointed out that Taylor and Ruth still have room for improvement.

“They both need to continue to make progress if they’re going to win Olympic gold medals,” he said. “That never ends. And they both have that mentality.”

After what Penn State wrestling fans have seen for the past four years, who could doubt that?

(Photo gallery below by Tina Hay.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

February 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm 1 comment

It’s a New NCAA Wrestling Attendance Record

DSC_3624_med_crowd

Announced attendance: 15,996. (Penn Stater photo)

For some people, getting ready for a wrestling match in the Bryce Jordan Center probably meant some changes in routine. The ticket office, for instance, had more than double the number of tickets to sell compared to regular old matches in Rec Hall. And the fire marshal apparently had to determine if enough people to break the NCAA record for dual match attendance could fit safely into the BJC.

For the wrestlers and coaches? No big deal, unless you count weighing in at Rec Hall and then taking vans to the match across campus. “A wrestling mat’s a wrestling mat, wherever it is,” coach Cael Sanderson said. “Whether people are watching you or not, you should be the same person.”

That said, Sunday’s 28-9 victory over Pitt at the BJC was hardly routine.

DSC_3596_med_Wes_Phipps

Wes Phipps earned a 13-3 major decision in his bout at 184. (Penn Stater photo)

It did have an NCAA atmosphere, with a the mat on a raised platform (“It makes a pretty sweet sound when you pick the guy up and slam him down on it,” said 184-pounder Wes Phipps, who knows because he did it), the wrestlers being followed by a spotlight as they ran onto the mat, where the Nittany Lions’ names were beamed onto the mat (last names except for Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford, who were apparently too long), and athletic trainer Dan Monthley wearing a tie, the kind of wardrobe adornment he saves for the biggies.

The weather likely kept some fans home—not every seat was filled—but the announced attendance, 15,996, not only broke the NCAA record for a dual-meet crowd (15,955, at a 2008 match between Iowa and Iowa State), but it was also (more…)

December 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm 2 comments

Wrestlers Hungry to Defend NCAA Title

Frank Molinaro celebrates his Big Ten title.

This time, of all things, it was cake.

Asked Monday afternoon if he had anything special planned for the wrestling team headed into the NCAA Championships, which start Thursday morning in St. Louis, coach Cael Sanderson said that after practice, everyone would eat a treat baked by a friend, Bonnie Epstein, who lives in Ohio.  Explained Sanderson, “To celebrate how great we’re going to wrestle this weekend.”

It was hard to know how seriously to take that. Wrestlers? Chowing down on cake? The week of the biggest tournament of the season? Except for heavyweights, these guys watch every mouthful they consume. Back in my Collegian days, I once interviewed a wrestler who told me the only thing he’d eaten since Monday was a Chicklet (this was on a Thursday), and earlier this season, 149-pounder Frank Molinaro cracked that when friends came over to watch Phil Davis compete in UFC, he served ice chips. I’m pretty sure that even though he laughed, that wasn’t really a joke.

But on Tuesday, Sanderson tweeted, “There’s ‘the Force’ in Star Wars and ‘the Power of Greyskull’ in He-man but nothing compares to the power of Bonnie Epstein.” So, apparently, he did let the wrestlers eat a little cake. And, apparently, it was really good. (Or, maybe, he ate it all himself?)

Asked about how, specifically, the Nittany Lions were preparing to defend their NCAA team title, Sanderson was a lot more reticent. Some guys watch film, some guys don’t. He wouldn’t specify who was who. He mentioned, again, that the wrestlers were at their best when they were confident and having fun, and he trotted out all of the usual clichés, about how winning the Big Ten title was a good “stepping stone” to the NCAAs, and how the wrestlers “feed off each other” when one particular guy dominates his opponent.

He also mentioned in passing that the Nittany Lions are underdogs in their quest to win back-to-back NCAA team titles. On paper, going by the seeds, if every wrestler holds his spot, the team title would go to Iowa. In real life, though, the Nittany Lions will be relying, again, on bonus team points for major decisions, technical falls, and pins. That’s the aggressive style of wrestling that made them the first Penn State NCAA team champion—and first team champion from east of the Mississippi—since 1953.

They’ve qualified nine wrestlers for nationals, and three of them are undefeated No. 1 seeds—Molinaro, 165-pounder David Taylor, and 174-pounder Ed Ruth.  (Ruth, by the way, is still sporting a two-toned hairdo, but he’s swapped out the blond for teal.) All of them were dominant at the Big Ten tournament, enabling the Nittany Lions to come from behind after they fell to third on the first day of the two-day tournament. If you want to get a sense of how pumped up these guys are, take a look at this video of Molinaro celebrating his victory. That’s some serious chest-thumping.

Wrestling starts Thursday morning, with the quarterfinals Friday morning and the semifinals Friday night. You can catch some of the action online at ESPN3 or on ESPNU (click here for the broadcast schedule). The finals, televised live by ESPN are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Should be fun to watch.

“Everybody expects that we’re going to be the champion,” Taylor said. “We expect the same thing.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

March 15, 2012 at 8:46 am 1 comment

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